Controls on some of the most dangerous terror suspects in Britain – including two fanatics linked to the liquid bomb plot – will be lifted within weeks in a new security fiasco.
Ten extremists suspected of helping to plot attacks in the UK and abroad were placed under controversial terrorist prevention measures, known as T-Pims, to protect the public in 2012.
Two of the fanatics have since absconded – including Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, who is currently the subject of an international manhunt after fleeing the authorities disguised in a burka.
Now it has emerged that, in January, the T-Pims in force on the remaining eight suspects, which include curfews and bans on meeting fellow extremists, will begin to lapse.
The suspects – who will be free to walk the streets with impunity – include the ‘commanding officer’ of the 2006 liquid bomb plot to blow up seven transatlantic planes.
Officials say the fanatic, rated one of the most dangerous men in Britain, had the job of developing the deadly explosive devices, which would have been contained in drink bottles.
A second man linked to the plot will also be freed from his curfew. The 24-year-old Briton was never put on trial, but a judge said that if the plot hadn’t been stopped ‘there is every reason to believe that he would have killed himself and a large number of other people’.
A third member of the group attended a terror training camp in Cumbria in 2004 with four of the five attempted suicide bombers involved in the July 21, 2005 attacks.
MPs said the lifting of the controls would lead to an ‘undoubted increase in risk to the public’.
Under the old control order regime, which was scrapped by the Coalition in 2011, there was no fixed time limit on how long a suspect could be monitored.
But T-Pims, have a two-year time limit. The only way an order can be extended is if new evidence is found on the suspects.
The eight suspects currently subject to terror controls, they cannot be identified for legal reasons
The first T-Pims – including that on the liquid bomb plot ‘commanding officer’ – will lapse in January.
All of the men are protected by anonymity orders. The news is another embarrassment for the Government following Mohamed’s escape from a London mosque dressed in a burka last Friday.
The 27-year-old jihadist was trained in Somalia by the Al Shabaab terror group responsible for the Westgate shopping mall atrocity in Kenya earlier this year.
Security officials believe Mohamed, who MI5 say was involved in organising attacks against western interests in Africa, may already have fled overseas.
Boris Johnson criticised the ‘ludicrous’ failures of the current T-Pim regime.
The London Mayor blamed the weakened security on the Liberal Democrats.
Nick Clegg’s party demanded the scrapping of relocation powers which, under the old control order regime, allowed a terror suspect to be forcibly moved to another part of the country.
The Lib Dems were also instrumental in the new rule stating T-Pims must automatically expire after two years.
Vanished: Police are appealing to he public to trace a 27-year-old Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed who absconded on Friday
Mr Johnson told LBC radio: ‘I’m sure there will be very lively discussions going on between Theresa May, who I’m sure is very much in favour of the strongest possible measures, and her colleagues in the Liberal Democrats.
‘I’m sure she will be saying to them “listen, this is ludicrous, we are having too many of these types of evasion. The T-Pim system perhaps should be strengthened”.
‘This guy Mohamed was obviously helped to escape. I don’t believe for a minute that he did it on his own.’
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary said: ‘For so many T-Pims to end at once raises serious challenges for the police and security services – especially in London where most of the suspects are based.’
Hazel Blears, a member of Parliament’s intelligence and security committee, said there would be an ‘undoubted increase in risk’ to the public when the T-Pims lapse.
Security Minister James Brokenshire said: ‘The previous government’s Control Orders were not working. Their powers were being struck down in the courts and seven suspects absconded from them – six of whom were never caught.
‘T-Pims provide some of the strongest possible protections that the courts will allow and have been endorsed by counter-terrorism reviewers, the police, and the security services as providing protection for the British public.
‘The police and the security services have also received tens of millions of pounds of extra funding to step up surveillance and secure more prosecutions.’